Reasons to buy a real Christmas tree this year

10th November

There are many misconceptions about the environmental and other benefits of buying fake plastic trees compared to real festive trees.

Clive Collins, from award-winning Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, near Battle, says purchasing a real tree doesn’t just make your home more ‘Christmassy’, it also benefits your health, the economy and the environment.

Buying the tree is often the first signal to children that Christmas is coming to their home. For visitors to farms like Catsfield, it has become a family event and some customers plan their visit a year in advance.

Once the perfect tree is installed in the home, the whole family can enjoy decorating it. A real tree not only provides the aroma of Christmas, it also looks better in your home. A fake tree can’t be trimmed and the standardised shape makes them dull to decorate and less appealing in the home.

Pine needles help battle anxiety

But this is just the start of why a real tree is superior. A 2007 study by Kyoto University proved that the smell of pine needles can help to battle anxiety, stress and depression. The researchers asked 500 volunteers to walk for 15 minutes in a pine forest, twice a day. They then compared their moods on these days to days when they didn’t walk in the woods. The study showed the scent of pine trees considerably lightened their moods.

There is also something restorative about having greenery in our indoor environments. Offices often benefit from having potted plants, with research showing they help to relieve stress and fatigue. Having an evergreen Christmas tree in your home, at a time when nature is hibernating, will make your home a more welcoming environment.

Most real Christmas trees are also grown in the UK and, in the case of farms like Catsfield, they are grown on-site. By comparison, most plastic trees are manufactured in the Far East. By purchasing a real tree, consumers are supporting local farmers, local businesses and the local economy. Farmers like Clive also give back to the local community by supporting local schools and charities, such as the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

Being locally grown has one other major advantage – they are far better for the environment. Christmas trees are often grown on ground that won’t support other crops. They help stabilise water tables, provide habitats for wildlife and they absorb carbon dioxide. On average, one acre of Christmas trees will produce the daily requirements of oxygen for 18 people and, unlike plastic trees, they can be composted at the end of their life and won’t clog up landfill sites.

Christmas trees can be composted

Being local also means real trees have a much lower carbon footprint than fake trees, which often must be transported half-way around the world. The Carbon Trust has estimated a real tree has one tenth of the carbon footprint of a fake tree – and fake trees don’t have all the positive benefits.

Finally, many of the preconceived ideas people have about why they don’t want a real tree are now outdated. The nuisance of dropping needles, for example, can easily be avoided by choosing the right type of tree and then nurturing it correctly. Farmers like Clive are more than happy to provide advice on buying the right type of tree for you, and offer tips on how to tend to its needs so you’ll have a green, festive tree in the corner of your living room throughout the festive period.

Clive Collins said: “I am passionate about people looking after my trees after they take them home. After all, each tree has been carefully cultivated by me and my team over a period of around seven years. The key is to treat your tree like you should cut flowers. The butt needs trimming to encourage it to draw in fresh water.

“I always advise my customers to buy a stand with a large water reservoir such as the Krinner and to keep the water topped up. Fortunately the trend is towards stands that hold water and we are encouraging the diehards by offering them 20% off a new stand if they trade in their old metal one.”

About Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm

Situated near Battle in East Sussex, Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm is open from 18th November until Christmas Eve. Customers can come and choose their tree while it is still in the ground, before collecting it in December, or have it delivered locally. Catsfield also offers a full-range of festive decorations to make your Christmas the perfect Christmas. To learn more: